Illini lose early to UWM, blast Cornell in second game
March 24, 2005
Bradenton, Fla. - Illinois dropped its early game to UW-Milwaukee 4-1, but recovered to blow out Cornell 16-2 in its second game as it played back-to-back contests after Wednesday's game was rained out on the spring trip.
Centerfielder Ryan Rogowski was 4-for-8 on the day with two doubles, four runs and two RBI; and catcher Chris Robinson went 3-for-7 with a double, a triple, three runs and three RBI. Redshirt junior pitcher Brian Blomquist threw an outstanding five innings to get the win against Cornell, giving up only four hits and one earned run while striking out four and not walking any Big Red hitters.
"In the first game, their pitcher absolutely shut us down," Illinois coach Richard "Itch" Jones said. "We had a couple of opportunities in the first and fifth innings to get back in it, and we only got one run. We didn't get enough hits to have a chance to win.
"But the second game was the total opposite," he said. "We jumped on them early and Blomquist shut them down. We did a good job going to the opposite field and moving runners, which we've struggled with all season. That's the way we're going to have to swing the bats if we're going to win."
Illinois jumped on Cornell early, as rightfielder Trevor Huisinga led off the game with his second career home run, a shot to right field. Rogowski singled through the right side and scored on Robinson's double to the wall in right. Robinson moved to third on first baseman Dusty Bensko's flyout and scored on leftfielder Drew Davidson's groundout to give the Illini a 3-0 lead after their first at-bat.
Cornell got a run in the bottom of the first, but Illinois added another run in the third when Rogowski singled with one out, stole second and scored on Robinson's base hit to give the Illini a 4-1 lead.
Illinois pasted nine more runs on the board in the fourth behind eight hits and two Cornell errors. Thirteen Illini went to the plate in an inning highlighted by four doubles. Shortstop Toby Gardenhire had a two-run single through the left side, and Rogowski and Bensko each smacked two-run doubles in the inning.
Rogowski led the offense, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, four runs and two RBI. Robinson was 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, three runs and three RBI; and designated hitter J.R. Kyes was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs and an RBI.
"Robinson and Rogowski swung the bat well, and I've been impressed with Kyes," Jones said. "We had three or four guys with at least two RBI and when you hit like that you're going to win games."
Illinois fell behind early in its first game of the day against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, giving up four runs in the first three innings, and never recovered, falling 4-1. The Illini managed a run in the fifth but left the bases loaded in the inning, their best scoring opportunity of the game.
Leftfielder Drew Davidson led the Illini with his 2-for-3 performance that included a double and a run. Sophomore lefthander Aaron Saving relieved starter Andy Sigerich in the third and faced the minimum number of batters in his scoreless 3 2/3 innings of work.
Illinois finishes its spring trip with another game against Cornell Friday at 9 a.m. CST.